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Law enforcement revs up security after incidents at Elmwood Park

Posted at 10:52 PM, Apr 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-13 23:52:52-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — More foot traffic in Elmwood Park has led to some criminal activity, so law enforcement is ramping up security.

Two women reported being attacked at the park right next to University of Nebraska-Omaha's campus. These are incidents at a place not many expected.

"It's shocking something like that would happen here," one woman said.

On Saturday afternoon, the park was thriving with hundreds enjoying an Earth Day celebration. Omaha Police were keeping a close eye on a park after getting reports of a sexual assault and attempted kidnapping in the past week.

A former student didn't have good impressions of the park or the level of law enforcement in the area.

"I wouldn't come here at night by myself," Seth Cook said. "I don't think there's really a cop presence. There's one here today, but at night I haven't seen much security."

A woman reported being sexually assaulted last Saturday night. In another case, a young woman told police a man tried to kidnap her Wednesday afternoon. Campus police are doing more patrols in the area while UNO students are trying to stay focused on finals and graduation.

gerry baggett, uno police

"A lot of times when there's nothing that occurs and you kind of let your guard down," UNO police officer Gerry Baggett said. "We want to bring that back up and get [students] to be aware of what's going on and make sure they're safe as the school year ends."

These incidents come as a surprise to many who get out to the park on a regular basis.

"At night, it's common knowledge not to walk around by yourself," Makayla Maddox said.

UNO Dean of Students Kathy Pettid says this is unsettling for the University. For students that park and walk to class from Elmwood Park, the school has opened garages for free.